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Russell, Rudenstine, Senior Citizens Gather for Annual Mayor's Picnic

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Celebrating for what 150 years has been a productive if sometimes tense relationship, the University and the city hosted the 21st annual Harvard Senior Picnic in the Yard on Wednesday.

President Neil L. Rudenstine and Mayor Sheila Doyle Russell were on hand to greet about 1,100 senior citizens from senior centers and nursing homes across the city.

Other notables making appearances were City Councillors Timothy J. Toomey, Michael A. Sullivan and Kathleen L. Born as well as former mayors Kenneth E. Reeves '72 and Alice K. Wolf. Alfred E. Vellucci, who as mayor helped host the first Harvard Senior Picnic in 1975, was also in attendance.

In his introductory speech, Rudenstine said that although the city itself was founded in 1846, "the name Cambridge started in 1638, so this is almost a 350th anniversary."

Rudenstine noted that Cambridge was named for a university in England that most of the settlers attended.

Rudenstine then introduced a "special guest" to the picnic--a little girl wearing a paper birthday cake, complete with candles, who did a tap-dance as the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to the city. Rudenstine clapped and sang along with the crowd.

"It's great--the seniors love it, they talk about it all year and they look forward to coming," Russell said afterwards.

Other city politicians were equally enthusiastic.

"I wouldn't miss this for the world--it's always fun to see so many Cambridge seniors," Reeves said.

The seniors themselves, however, had a mixed reaction to the day.

One senior, Joan O'Sullivan, said the event was better in previous years because of its buffet-style hot lunch. This year, cold box-lunches of sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and brownies were served.

Other seniors said that Russell had less flair than her predecessor, Reeves.

"I don't think the mayor sponsored it correctly," said one senior, who identified herself only as Jay C. "Mayor Reeves had a much better time. He did everything with finesse. Not so of Mayor Russell."

But the many seniors said the event was an excellent chance to see their old friends.

"I've been coming to this since it started," said Mary Vieira. "It's very nice. They pack a lot of seniors in."

The Union Orchestra and Arlene Bennett provided musical entertainment. The Deborah Mason School of Dance also performed.

The event cost about $18,000, according to organizer Maryann Jarvis, Harvard's associate director of community relations

The Union Orchestra and Arlene Bennett provided musical entertainment. The Deborah Mason School of Dance also performed.

The event cost about $18,000, according to organizer Maryann Jarvis, Harvard's associate director of community relations

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